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The Mudd, Sand Bank shantytowns 50 percent cleared

Clarke says Disaster Reconstruction Authority heading coastal management research

NASSAU, BAHAMAS — Contractors engaged by the government have cleared just over 55 percent of the debris in the The Mudd shantytown in Abaco — one of the areas hardest hit by Hurricane Dorian in early September.

In an interview with Eyewitness News Online, Disaster Reconstruction Authority Chairman John Michael Clarke said the debris removal in Sand Bank was also past the 50 percent mark.

The Pigeon Peas shantytown was completely cleared of debris as of last month.

With respect to The Farm, the authority chairman noted there were some logistical challenges, namely storm victims still residing in the area that was vastly destroyed by the deadly storm.

Clarke said: “I am not sure they have been resolved; people are there.”

Last month, Minister of Public Works Desmond Bannister said around 75 families remained in The Farm, and were stalling the government’s efforts to clear debris in the shantytown community.

He did not indicate how the government planned to address the matter.

Following the storm, the government issued an order blocking residents from rebuilding in the shantytown communities “to allow for recovery efforts and the removal of storm debris related to Hurricane Dorian”.

Dorian pounded the islands of Abaco and Grand Bahama on September 1-3.

At least 70 people were killed.

An estimated 30,000 people were impacted.

Cleanup begun in the shantytowns in Abaco in late September.

The government engaged four contractors for the cleanup of the shantytowns on the island.

At last report, approximately 14 contractors were involved in the debris removal efforts.

The Ministry of the Environment’s Debris Management Plan has established a timeline of 180 days to the total removal of debris.

It estimates there was 1.09 million cubic yards of debris in the Abaco districts and another 2.09 million cubic yard of debris in Grand Bahama.

“That is almost twice the volume of what New Providence processes in a given year,” Clarke said.

“Just to give you some idea of the scale of what it is; not only collect, but process. So, there it is you are in Abaco and you have to process, twice as much debris as New Providence does in a given year. And think of the operation that happens at the New Providence Landfill; that is almost a continuous operation.

“To translate that to Abaco, it is not going to happen in six months of three months. This isn’t cutting trees down and taking them to the dump.

As it relates to reconstruction of homes throughout Abaco, Clarke indicated that the Disaster Authority will head up research on coastal management and design considerations.

“You can’t build the same way,” said Clarke, referencing the over 20 feet storm surges.

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